Three lessons from data on children’s reading habits

Data on reading instruction

Girls read 800,000 more words 

Girls read more books than boys do, in every grade, but boys aren’t that far behind girls from kindergarten through third grade. It’s beginning in fourth grade that reading habits really diverge by gender.

Starting in fourth grade, girls read, on average, 100,000 more words per year than boys do. Over the course of a child’s elementary, middle and high school education, that adds up to an almost 800,000-word difference (3.8 million words for girls vs. 3 million words for boys). The chart above shows the number of words that boys and girls, on average, read in each grade.

“It’s striking,” said Stickney, the research director at Renaissance. “It’s hard to learn new words when you’re not exposed to them, and girls are getting exposed to a lot more words.”


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